Netmail provided Utah Valley University with all the migration tools and assistance services necessary to enable their Office of Information Technology to perform a smooth email migration to Microsoft Exchange with minimal impact on their 6000 strong user community.
Utah Valley University (UVU) is the largest public university in the State of Utah with an enrollment of more than 33,000 students. Located in Orem, Utah, the school was previously known as Utah Valley State College (UVSC) until it attained university status in 2008 and changed its name. Utah Valley University is a teaching institution which provides opportunity, promotes student success, and meets regional educational needs through a combination of academic and hands-on learning.
- Migrate the university’s 6000 email accounts from Novell GroupWise to Microsoft Exchange with minimal impact on the user community.
- Enable the university ‘s Office of Information Technology to perform the migration internally using Netmail's migration tools.
- Provide the right balance of migration assistance and support.
In April, 2010, Utah Valley University announced its intention to migrate from Novell GroupWise to Microsoft Exchange. Following a joint decision by the university president and his cabinet to migrate to the Microsoft Exchange platform, the Office of Information Technology (OIT) at UVU began evaluating the available migration tools on the market. “The system we had was not keeping pace with where we were headed as a university. We had to have technological platforms that were commensurate with the dynamism of our
mission, the pace of change, the commitment to excellence, and customer service that we strive for at Utah Valley University,” recalls President Matthew Holland.
After evaluating the available tools, the university narrowed down their selection to the migration solutions available from Netmail and one other vendor. In the end, the university selected the Netmail Migrate solution from Netmail. Citing Netmail's extensive experience with GroupWise as one of the key factors in their final decision, the university was also swayed by the very competitive pricing of the Netmail Migrate solution. Another important factor in UVU’s decision was the ability to perform the migration themselves.
Situated literally five miles from the Novell campus, Utah Valley University had an extremely loyal GroupWise community. “We’ve been on the same platform for twenty years, so we knew that an email migration to a new platform was going to be a big change for most of our users,” says Brett McKeachnie, the Director of Systems Administration at Utah Valley University. “Many of our users were already familiar with Outlook and were eager to migrate, while others were less ready for the change.”
The Great Migration
Introduced to migrating faculty and staff as “The Great Migration,” the UVU Office of Information Technology adopted a travel theme as a way to help ease the transition from the familiar Novell platform to the new Microsoft platform. All project team members then took on the personas of travel agents, communicating every leg of the virtual trip to its passengers.
“We provided a lot of communication to our user community,” admits McKeachnie. In the first announcement of its kind, the OIT promised to provide answers to any questions users might have about the migration such as, “When are we leaving? Are we all leaving at once? Will I need any luggage? What should I pack? Will I be leaving anything behind, or can I take it all with me? Will anything get lost along the way? Can I bring my mother?” Numerous other travel advisories followed including a printed boarding pass that was delivered to campus mailboxes the week before the actual migration date, referred to in communications as the “departure date.”
In addition to consistently using the travel theme in all communications about the migration project, the OIT Team also held training sessions and practice labs, provided online tutoring, and customized some of the reference guides provided by Netmail to develop their own training materials. Finally, to ensure the transition was as smooth as possible, the OIT Team at UVU opted to perform the migration in stages, department by department, over a period of several months. Another important piece in the migration project was migrating the Office of the President as quickly as possible. “It was important to get it into the President’s Office to have it effectively move from the top down and then across the university to illustrate that the President’s Office is taking its turn and we’re learning, too,” remembers President Holland.
A Successful Journey
The combination of software and services from Netmail proved to be exactly what the Utah Valley University Office of Information Technology needed to help them transition to Microsoft Exchange. “We wanted it to be UVU’s email migration project. We planned the migration carefully, so we wanted to be in charge of the project using your Netmail Migrate solution. Your Professional Services Team was very good about teaching us how to use the migration tools and then getting out of the way. We really did appreciate that. In the end, we are really happy with the outcome that we had and that is due to the fact that you were flexible and that your Professional Services Team helped us out exactly the way we wanted you to. So it worked out really well,” says McKeachnie.
“For me, evidence of the project’s success was how little I heard about it during the process,” adds President Matthew Holland. As for other universities contemplating an email migration, President Holland has this advice: “My experience would lead me to say in terms of just making the move to Exchange, don’t hesitate. I think it’s proved to be a good decision for Utah Valley University. We’d give Netmail really high marks.”